by George J Elbaum
Charles Wright Academy (CWA) was the second of the 2 schools where, on 2 consecutive days in October 2010, I spoke for the first time. Now it was the 8th consecutive year that I spoke at CWA annual Global Summit which this year consisted of the 75 students of the CWA freshman class plus 23 high school students and 6 teachers from China, Colombia, and Poland. Missing, unfortunately, was the delegation from Morocco, which cancelled their participation in the Global Summit 2 weeks before their expected arrival. The reason: the students’ parents did not feel certain that their children would be safe in our country due to the increasing racial, ethnic, and political divisiveness in the United States today. Considering that there’s active Islamic terrorism in Morocco today, it is sad for us that they (and presumably others) view the situation in our country as being more dangerous.
The Global Summit is a 10-day program designed to promote peace and social justice by exposing the visiting students to and developing their understanding of the concepts of universal human rights, justice, fair trade and sustainable life styles, and by demonstrating how the choices that each of us makes every day can impact the world. The core of the Summit is a series of speakers whose personal experiences reflect directly on these subjects, and their presentations are followed by group discussions on these very concepts. My presentation was the first time that most of these students heard directly from a Holocaust survivor, and their subsequent questions were very deep, thoughtful, and thought-provoking, some asked of me for the first time in more than 140 talks I have given in the last 7 years.
This year’s Global Summit was organized and managed by Ann Vogel, CWA’s International Student Coordinator and Global Summit Coordinator. She also is one of six Global Ambassadors for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Her son graduated from CWA and her daughter is currently a CWA student. Ann was assisted by teachers Catalina Lopez and Juan Carlos Mora from Colombia; Karen Yanfang He and Lisa Juan Li from China; Global Summit co-founder Marcin Pasnikowski and Agnieszka Czerwińska from Poland; and CWA teachers Christine Telal, Rafe Wadleigh, and Christina Bertucchi. CWA teachers and students hosted the visiting delegations.